The fuel of the future is here

The urgency of achieving net-zero emissions has never been greater. As Ontario transitions towards a clean energy future, hydrogen is emerging as the key to storing renewable energy and enabling energy systems to work together in a way that’s viable and affordable. It’s an attractive, low-carbon alternative to fuel energy systems, heat homes and buildings and power industry and fuel-cell batteries for transportation. Today, hydrogen is being blended into Enbridge Gas’ existing system, greening the natural gas supply and accelerating Ontario’s net-zero goals.

The renewable hydrogen advantage

Renewable hydrogen is created from a low-carbon or no-carbon energy source, such as wind or solar. It’s typically generated through electrolysis, where an electric charge splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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When produced with renewable electricity, such as wind and solar, no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are released.
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Greens the gas supply

Renewable hydrogen can be safely blended into the natural gas supply to help reduce overall GHG emissions.
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Uses existing infrastructure

By blending it directly into the existing natural gas supply, hydrogen offsets the need and cost to build new storage and distribution facilities.
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Stores and transports renewable energy

A key challenge for renewable electricity is that it can’t be efficiently or effectively stored; converting it into hydrogen puts surplus electricity to work when its needed most.

The type of hydrogen is determined by its energy source

Besides renewable hydrogen, which is produced from both low-carbon and no-carbon energy sources, there are also other types of hydrogen.

Brown/black hydrogen

  • Produced from coal through gasification.
  • Generates significant carbon emissions.

Grey hydrogen

  • Produced from natural gas using steam methane reforming.
  • Generates significant carbon emissions.

Blue hydrogen

  • Produced from natural gas using steam methane reforming.
  • Carbon emissions are captured, stored or reused, generating few to no emissions.

Green hydrogen

  • Produced from 100 percent renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, etc.
  • The electrolysis process generates zero emissions.

The flexibility of hydrogen in Ontario: A key contributor in reducing carbon emissions

Blending renewable hydrogen gives Ontario a lower-carbon footprint

Already in use around the world, renewable hydrogen can be blended into the natural gas system and distributed through existing pipelines to support:

  • Low-carbon heat for homes and businesses.
  • A greener natural gas supply.
  • Lower-carbon energy generation in Ontario.

Converting low-carbon electricity using power-to-gas

A promising innovation called power-to-gas, or P2G, connects the electrical grid to the natural gas system. Since renewable energy can’t be efficiently or effectively stored for times when it’s needed most, the process converts surplus electricity into hydrogen.

  • Enables electrical storage in the natural gas system.
  • Lower-carbon footprint.
  • Hydrogen can then be added to the natural gas system.

Renewable hydrogen in action

Renewable hydrogen in action

North America’s first utility-scale power-to-gas facility

Located in Markham, Ontario, Canada, the utility-scale P2G facility converts surplus energy from renewable sources into hydrogen, which can then be blended into the natural gas system to help balance Ontario’s electricity supply and demand.

Key facts about the facility:

  • Produces approximately 12,000 m3 (1,000 kg) at maximum output of renewable hydrogen daily.
  • The hydrogen produced is 99.99 percent pure.
  • Will replace up to two percent by volume of natural gas for 3,600 homes and businesses.
  • Will reduce GHG emissions by up to 117 tonnes a year.
  • Stores 8 MW of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is an abundant element produced by energy sources like the sun, wind or water. Similar to electricity, hydrogen is used to “carry” energy. As hydrogen can be effectively and efficiently stored, and easily transported, it can be used in innovative ways to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in heating, transportation and industrial energy use.

Hydrogen blending is when small amounts of renewable hydrogen are injected into the natural gas supply to lower its carbon footprint. Blending in a measured amount of hydrogen lowers the carbon footprint of the natural gas being delivered to customers, resulting in fewer emissions.
Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that emits only water. When blended into the natural gas system it lowers the overall carbon intensity, which helps improve air quality and reduce emissions. When hydrogen is produced using renewable electricity, the process is also carbon neutral.
Non-toxic and non-poisonous, hydrogen can be safely blended into the gas system to green the natural gas supply. Natural gas is still one of the safest fuels used today, and Enbridge Gas has a long history of providing safe and reliable service to our customers.

Some areas in Europe blend up to 20% hydrogen. Enbridge Gas is beginning with up to 2% of by volume as a pilot project.

In a measured amount, hydrogen blends seamlessly into the existing natural gas system, with no changes to reliability or the quality of service. You’ll continue to be able to heat your home and water safely. The amount at which Enbridge is blending hydrogen (up to two percent by volume) will have no adverse effects on your appliances.
Approximately nine litres of water is used to produce one kilogram of hydrogen and about eight kilograms of oxygen. When used in a fuel cell electric vehicle which produces zero emissions, the byproduct is roughly nine liters of water for each kilogram of hydrogen used.

Ontario’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, released November 2018, commits the province to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, in line with Canada’s 2030 target. As part of the plan, the province has developed a low-carbon hydrogen strategy. The strategy establishes a vision for a new hydrogen economy that will address climate change and air quality while creating opportunities for industry to grow. Enbridge Gas, along with other participants across Canada, contributed to developing this strategy.

Read Ontario’s hydrogen strategy.

Read Canada’s hydrogen strategy.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are weather-dependent, so the energy they supply is difficult to predict and match with electricity demand. Hydrogen enables these energy sources to run continuously and at large-scale, generating excess electricity which can be stored for times when it’s needed most.

Learn more about renewable hydrogen’s potential

We can help identify opportunities for municipalities, industry and more.

See other low-carbon energy solutions

Renewable natural gas (RNG)

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Conservation programs

With incentives and expertise, we’ve helped 170,000 customers reduce costs and their carbon footprint.

Geothermal heating and cooling

Reduce onsite emissions with a turnkey, renewable solution to heat and cool homes and buildings.